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What are Phonograms?

Helping you understand Phonograms: By now you will have discovered that there are approximately 44 phonic sounds which make up our English Language. We need to be able to spell these sounds so that we can make words to read – (where would we be without books!) - we refer to these cluster of letters as phonograms. Words with the same phonogram are often referred to as word families. For example the words:

cow, sow, share the same -ow phonogram, and boat, coat, share the -oa phonogram.

Phonograms which share the same letter combination or word family are often associated with rhyming words. Phonograms can appear at the beginning, middle or end of words.

What are the common phonograms?

Now this has been quite a mission to find out. It seems that every book I read and website I visit gives a different list for the Common Phonograms - goodness, some aren't even phonograms at all !

So after an extensive - and exhausting! - search - here is my slant on the most common phonograms. The number given after each represents the number of sounds each phonogram makes. There are just over 70 common phonograms:

Single Phonograms:

a-5 b c-2 d e-2
f g-2 h i-2 j
k l m n o-4
p qu-2 r s-2 t
u-3 v w x-2 y-2
z        
Multiple Phonograms:
er ir ur ear wor
th-2 sh ee ay ai
ow-2 ou-4 oy oi ch-3
au-2 aw ng oo-2 ew-2
ui-2 ea-3 ar-2 or ck
oa wh igh ed-3 ey-2
wr kn      
eigh tch oe dge ph
ti ci si ie ei
augh gn gu gh sc
eu        

By learning the common phonograms during a child's early years at school or home will significantly improve their reading, spelling, and comprehension.I would begin by teaching the alphabet letters or single phonograms.

However some alphabet letters have more than one sound - see below - So do you teach these at the same time as the letters with only one sound?

There is some debate about this. Maybe a child who knows from the beginning that the letter 'O' has four possible sounds, will not be discouraged that the first sound did not work when trying to sound out a new word. They have three other choices to try!

Personally I teach all the single sound letters first, then naturally move on to say that some of the letters have more than one sound and teach them along side the single letters just learnt.

Letters with multiple sounds obviously take longer to learn than single phonograms and revision of all letters will be required as new ones are learnt.

Phonograms Printables Coming Soon!


Read more articles & FAQ for help in teaching phonics





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